Disconnect to Reconnect
Screens and technology are a part of our everyday life and in many ways they have added greatly to our quality of life. We have a world of knowledge at our fingertips and we can communicate with someone across the world. There is real concern however that too much screen time can get in the way of physical activity and true emotional interactions with others.
Our brains are wired for face-to-face social contact. Children need real life “facetime”.
It is time to “RECLAIM” and take back that part of our lives.
R – elationships
Healthy family relationships help all members of a family feel safe and connected to one another. When children receive love and support in a warm family environment, they are better able to take on the childhood tasks of exploring their world and learning new skills.
Screens may provide entertainment or a basic lesson however they cannot substitute real social and emotional connections
Building a Healthy Relationship with Your Baby or Toddler
Tips on Helping your Child Build Relationships
Teens and Family Relationships
E – xercise
Screen time keeps children seated for long stretches of time which means it stops them from getting the physical activity they need. Children need to be active every day to promote healthy growth and development.
Children who establish healthy lifestyle patterns at a young age will carry them –and their benefits – forward for the rest of their lives.
Physical Activity for Children and Youth
Movement Guidelines: 0-4 years
Movement Guidelines: 5-17 years
C – ommunication
From the time they are born, children start communicating. Very early in their lives, they learn to understand what you are saying and to make sounds of their own. They are beginning to develop speech and language skills that will help them make friends, learn to read, and later, to succeed at school and on into their teen and adulthood years.
Screen time provides one way communication reducing opportunities for children to communicate and interact face-to-face with other people.
Serve and Return – Building Brains
How to Support your Child’s Communication Skills
Communication and Your 4-5 year Old
Communication and Your 6-12 year Old
L – imits
Children are exposed to more screens than ever before, including televisions, computers, gaming consoles, smartphones, and tablets. When thinking about how much time your child spends with screens, be sure to include all these different devices.
It can be helpful to create screen-free times such as no screens during meals and no screen use before bed.
Research shows that almost a third of Canadian children and teenagers aren’t getting enough sleep each night. Reserve the bedroom for sleeping only – keep cell phones, computers, televisions, and video games out of the bedroom.
Screen time and digital media: Advice for parents of school-aged children and teens
Be Media Smart – Tips for Parents
Keep Track Of All The Ways You Power Off!
A – ttachment
A baby needs a secure base which needs to come from the relationship with their primary care giver. The infant needs to be held in the arms of their primary care giver: to be loved, to have eye contact, to be kept safe, to be prioritized, and to be cared for.
There is a lot of research that shows that kids who have healthy attachments go on to have healthy relationships. They do better socially and in school as they grow up.
Technology and screens may keep people distracted and entertained however they do not meet the hard-wired human need for connection and attachment.
Attachment: A Connection for Life
Nurturing a Strong Attachment Through Everyday Moments
The Importance of Attachment in brain Development
I – nterests
When children are involved in screen-free activities that interest them they are able to learn more effectively. We know that children are naturally curious and allowing for free, unstructured play helps them to develop their imagination and creativity. Opportunities for creativity promote a child’s physical, emotional, social, cognitive, and speech and language development.
Parents and caregivers can encourage and support their child’s interests in a variety of ways such as: find books on their special interest at the library and read them together and ask questions (this encourages critical thinking and demonstrates support to the child).
Tips on Nurturing your Child’s Curiosity
Encouraging your Child’s Sense of Humour
M – odel
For most children, the most important role models are their parents and caregivers so when it comes to screen time, it’s important for them to have healthy digital media habits too!
Children See, Children Do (video)